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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

60   WAR FINANCE AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

debasement, the less about economic enlightenment
the better.

What, then, stood in the way of measures of
finance which would have obviously had results so
much more desirable than those which .will face us
at the end of the war ?   As it is, the nation, with all
classes embittered owing to suspicions of profiteering
on the part of the employers and of unpatriotic
 strikes on the part of the workers, will have to face
a load of debt, the service of which is already roughly
equivalent to our total pre-war revenue ; while there
seems every prospect that the war may continue for
many half-years yet, and every half-year, as it is
at present financed, leaves us with a load of debt
which will require the total yield of the income tax
and the super-tax before the war to meet the charge
upon it.   Why have we allowed our present finance to
go so wrong ?   In the first place, perhaps, we may
put the bad example of Germany.   Then, surely, our
rulers might have known better than to have been
deluded by such an example.   In the second place,
it was the cowardice of the politicians, who had not
the sense in the early days of the war to see how eager
the spirit of the country was to do all that the war
required of it, and consequently were afraid to tax
at a time when higher taxation would have been
submitted to most cheerfully by the country. There
was  also  the  absurd  weakness  of  our  Finance
Ministers and our leading financial officials, which
allowed our financial machinery to be so much
weakened by the demands of the War Office for
enlistment that it has been said in the House of